Slack's new life as a public company is off to a strong start. The workplace collaboration player made its trading debut via direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday under the ticker symbol WORK. After setting a reference price of $26 the night before, Slack's shares surged more than 60% in the early minutes trading after opening at $38.50, eventually climbing to $42.
Slack's valuation is now in the range of $23 billion.
Slack's ultimate success as a public company is yet to be seen, but the company has already cemented its place as a go-to enterprise collaboration tool in a market where many other platforms have failed. One of its strongest attributes so far is that it is continually adding more paying customers.
In its S-1 filing back in April, Slack that its workplace collaboration platform had more than 10 million daily active users and more than 88,000 paid customers. Earlier this month the company said it now has over 95,000 paid customers, with 645 of those paid customers bringing Slack annual recurring revenue greater than $100,000.
Slack competes with Microsoft Teams and a bevy of incumbents and recent entrants to the workplace collaboration space. One of Slack's key differentiators is that works across platforms, letting users do most of their work in one place via plug-ins. The company last year acquired the intellectual property of Atlassian's Stride and Hipchat platforms in an effort to defend its market share against larger rivals.
Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has on multiple occasions proclaimed that the Slack platform will eventually replace email in the corporate workplace. But beyond killing email, Butterfield's strategy for Slack boils down to building products that align teams to function better, and ultimately growing the platform into a horizontal tool across corporate functions.